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The end of the 40 Hour Workweek

Discussion in 'Tilted Philosophy, Politics, and Economics' started by Shadowex3, May 16, 2013.

  1. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member Donor

    Location:
    Baltimore/DC
    Actually, with more of the states adopting the "at-will" employment policy.

    Any company can come up with any excuse to rid themselves of your ass.
    And it often isn't true or it's a trumped up reason.

    Their usual method these days...
    1. "decisions are made"
    2. Steps are taken
    3. A rationalization is documented for their records.
    4. And they have you sign off for 2 weeks of residual pay to cover themselves legally.
    If you report them or act on them...you get to return that money back to them.

    The best option for workers, make sure you live in an area with lots of options.

    There's always a company that will likely pick you up, since you weren't terminated "for cause".
    They can't state this to your new potential employer, they can only note your title and times you worked. (not even salary)
    And most companies won't even volunteer information further, because you can turn around and sue them. (again, as long as it wasn't "for cause")
    "for cause" is usually due to malicious or gross misbehavior...truly FIRING you. (ex. stealing, drug use, sexual matters, etc...)

    Typically their "decisions" are based on not your quality of work...but other arbitrary matters, perception or convenience.
    Budget fluctuation, you're not meeting their warm & fuzzies, some authority has gotten a bug up their butt, etc and so on...

    Again, just live in an area with options.
    You can never tell when what silliness is going to make you move on. I've seen so many reason, it's ridiculous.

    Don't even get me into some of the policies of where I'm working now.
    The only reason I'm staying is because they do NOT call me outside of work. (a relief in my arena)
    And the hours do not change, 8:30-5:30 everyday, no flex...so 40 hours no matter what. (very strange, but it works)
     
  2. redux

    redux Very Tilted Donor

    Location:
    Foggy Bottom
    From the language of the text of the bill, there are two conditions under which comp time can be offered rather than overtime pay:

    (A) applicable provisions of a collective bargaining agreement between the employer and the labor organization that has been certified or recognized as the representative of the employees under applicable law;
    I dont have any problem with this, given that the employer and union are bargaining from a position of equal strength and workers have a person on-site (union steward) ensuring that workers rights are not abused.

    But here is where I have a problem for the vast majority of employees:
    ‘(B) in the case of employees who are not represented by a labor organization that has been certified or recognized as the representative of such employees under applicable law, an agreement arrived at between the employer and employee before the performance of the work and affirmed by a written or otherwise verifiable record maintained in accordance with section 11(c)--
    ‘(i) in which the employer has offered and the employee has chosen to receive compensatory time in lieu of monetary overtime compensation; and
    ‘(ii) entered into knowingly and voluntarily by such employees and not as a condition of employment.
    There is no equal bargain strength here. There is a boss in a position of power and a subordinate who may feel little choice but to "voluntarily" comply.

    And despite the bill's language prohibiting the employer from "directly or indirectly intimidate, threaten, or coerce or attempt to intimidate, threaten, or coerce any employee......", I think it is fair to say that similar language in other labor laws has not prevented employer intimidation/coercion in the past over numerous workers' rights. With the only recourse being a formal complaint with the DoL, which, in and of itself, is intimidating to many workers.

    The bill is ripe for employer abuse, particularly in the vast majority of cases where the employee has no on site representation protecting their back.

    The sky may not be falling, but it is chipping away at another workers' right.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  3. snowy

    snowy so kawaii Staff Member Donor

    I can think of one employer in my town, right off the bat, that would abuse the shit out of this were it passed.
     
  4. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member Donor

    Location:
    Toronto
    I'm still trying to get my head around this.

    So instead of boosting your income with overtime, you would now have the option of working less?

    And am I reading it right? If the employee flat out refuses to take the time off, the employer must pay them for the time at the end of a period?

    I can see how that will play out. Overtime will be allocated first to those who take the time off (i.e., those who actually want it or need it). Those who need the money will have to do without. Even if they do work overtime, they may not be able to afford to take the time off.

    I hate reading the language of these bills, so someone tell me if I'm wrong.

    This seems to me a bill to grease the wheels of trickle-up economics.

    Which is dandy .
     
  5. Aceventura

    Aceventura Slightly Tilted

    Location:
    North Carolina
    The mindset of "workers" is screwed up. "Workers" should always look at themselves as "free agents" or independent contractors. You owe your employer nothing, they owe you nothing other than full payment as agreed for the work performed. Period. Move on. It is not a marriage. It is not a family. It is not a fall on a grenade for my team relationship. Sure an employer will sell - we are a family, we will take care of our people, our people are our number one assets, etc, etc. - it is all bullshit. They will drop you like a goose drops bird shit on a black sports car! When "workers" change their mindset, they will begin to make real progress. Negotiate terms of employment, don't leave it to the whims of an employer or the minimum standards of the law.
     
  6. redux

    redux Very Tilted Donor

    Location:
    Foggy Bottom
    Many of the non-exempt workers who would be impacted by this bill are on the lower end of the "free agent" pool and have little discretion in employment opportunities, particularly in a tight labor market.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Shadowex3

    Shadowex3 Very Tilted Donor

    And when they try that they're blackballed by employers and ostracized in public as socialists, commies, and worse. I'm pretty sure employers would go back to sending the Pinkertons to murder people and threaten their families if they thought they could get away with it.
     
  8. Aceventura

    Aceventura Slightly Tilted

    Location:
    North Carolina
    Are you saying they would be happy to have a job and that comp. time v. overtime is secondary? I agree, there have been times in my working career when a job, any job was the most important thing. And perhaps when an employer has some flexibility in how they manage their workforce they can hire more people!

    As an employer myself, as a small business owner, I could not compete on a salary or benefit basis with large employers, but I could offer a flexible work week and a pleasant work environment (i.e. - if you need to take your sick mother to the doctor, no problem - if you need to take an afternoon class this semeaster and a morning class the next, no problem). And yes, on many occasions I had to say, no you can not work Saturday and take Monday off because the Saturday would mean overtime pay. It did not help me, nor the employee. Funny thing is that we were both adults and capable of making fair and reasonable decisions with each other.
    --- merged: May 22, 2013 at 2:33 PM ---
    There are industries where this mindset works well and the "workers" get paid well.

    Collective bargaining or unionization is not a bad thing or un-American - again it plays to "mindset" in my opinion. If "workers" fail to collective bargain or unionized because of fear of the things you list - whose problem is that? Employers who want to exploit this fear have not problem with it. I would suggest "workers" fight for what is their interest - everyone else in the market does.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 29, 2013
  9. Shadowex3

    Shadowex3 Very Tilted Donor

    Ace you realise that the problem with your point is the exact same as asking people who need insurance "Well why don't you just get a job?", right? You're talking about workers as though they exist in a vacuum with no outside interference or pressures, with all the safety and security in the world, and the only thing holding them back is "mindset". The world isn't that simple.

    I've already given you a few examples which you've dismissed entirely out of hand with an argument that imho doesn't even make sense, we haven't even gotten into employers behaving illegally in ways that interfere with worker's rights and corporations essentially buying union busting legislation.
     
  10. redux

    redux Very Tilted Donor

    Location:
    Foggy Bottom
    It is beyond naive to suggest that many lower skilled, lower income workers with little workplace mobility can negotiate their terms of employment, which is why labor law since the FLSA hs protected their basic wage interests.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  11. Aceventura

    Aceventura Slightly Tilted

    Location:
    North Carolina
    Read what I wrote.

    Try to understand the core problem with the "mindset" and how I suggest it change. If you think it impossible for "workers" to take steps (even if incremental) to become better advocates for what in their best interest your views and mind are so far a part communication is not possible. I think occasionally people are forced to do what needs to be done, but at the same time they can do things to make their future status better or forge a path for those that will come later.

    Also, this is the USA. This is not a third world country. If a worker is getting exploited at McDonald's, go to work at Wendy's! If you can't get benefits at Walmart, go to work at Costco! Start your own business - oh, but wait if you live in New York that is almost impossible unless you spend a fortune on all the permits/licenses/etc. Perhaps you are right depending on where you live - why do liberal urban governments make it so hard on people to be their own boss?
    --- merged: May 22, 2013 at 3:35 PM ---
    I would suggest "workers" do not recognize their value in the market. When "workers" take steps to understand what leverage they have and then begin to use that leverage things will change fast. For example a person who has no skills and take an entry level job, can be exploited as long as their current employer precludes them from learning marketable skills - so some employers will divide labor so skill sets are not transferable. this is an employer strategy to keep turnover low and costs down. If "workers" understood this, what could they do in response? They could share knowledge, get marketable skills and then demand market wages.

    I am suggesting that there are real steps workers can take. I worked minimum wage jobs, I was a teenager in the late 70's when teen unemployment was 50% in my area and took whatever I could get. I worked for a large corporation, working my way up. I worked for a medium size company as a corporate officer. I own a business that hires people. I have a perspective on these things and experience. I am often criticized here because I give a lot of anecdotal information, but I see anecdotal information as extremely valuable. It is the pseudo-intelectual b.s. that is the problem.


    I read your examples. Relative to my point I think your examples lack relevance. I am saying "workers" must take a more active role in the employee/employer relationship, I believe "workers" have untapped power. Your examples do not illustrate what I am saying is incorrect. My perception is that you are simply making excuses. I once had a co-worker who would use the phrase "he's got yeahbut disease" no matter what they are presented with, the response is "...yeah but..." You can do that all day long.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 29, 2013
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  12. Shadowex3

    Shadowex3 Very Tilted Donor

    Yknow I've been wondering for a few posts now why you kept putting "workers" and "mindset" in quotes, and with this post I think I've figured it out... you don't have to actually define what "mindset" is as long as you do that. "Mindset" is anything and everything you want it to be, as long as it means that the reason workers today are in the position they're in is their own fault... and because of that you can easily dismiss any and every rebuttal or counter-argument as "lacking relevance" because you've already blamed everything on "mindset".

    Workers can't unionize because the entire economy is down, they'll be replaced instantly by a hundred other people, and their boss illegally threatens to fire them if they even think about discussing wages or working conditions? Nonsense, it's all irrelevant, they just lack the proper "mindset". Workers have a union and corporations pay billions of dollars to have legislation passed that essentially guts their union's legal ability to function? Not relevant at all, they just don't have the right "mindset". Workers in an RTW At-Will state where they basically have no rights or protections at all and can be fired instantly for trying to unionize? Obviously it's their fault they don't realise their "untapped power", if only they were in the right "mindset".

    I had a teacher like this once. No matter what you said or did he would speak over you calling anything other than agreement "Excuses", and eventually just interrupt you by repeating "Thank You" louder and louder while getting closer to your face. It's completely substanceless and incredibly disrespectful to the people you're talking with, it pre-emptively dismisses all replies as automatically being invalid and evidence of a personal weakness. What he, and you, have both done is that make any discussion impossible. No matter what I say now you've automatically dismissed it as "Yeahbut's disease". You can do that all day long with literally any kind of disagreement, and the real thing is it's essentially namecalling. You could replace "Yeahbut" or "Excuses" with "Your a buttface" without any noticeable difference in effect.

    With that in mind...

    Yeah, But the entire market today is completely different than it was when back then. Social mobility is virtually nonexistent compared to when you worked your way up the ladder, minimum wage has fallen once you adjust for inflation, corporations pay no taxes whatsoever but still get tax refunds, and lobbying has gotten to a point where corporations openly buy votes for pre-made bills that they themselves wrote... bills which gut the ability of unions to function, strip workers of their basic rights, and remove those "real steps" you allude to. You say workers should share knowledge, but when I point out that attempting to do that or anything concrete you've said when not hiding behind blaming "mindset" gets everyone involved fired and replaced you dismiss my example as "lacking relevance". What's lacking relevance are your anecdotes from a bygone era which are no longer applicable at best and the opposite of how things are today at worst.

    Frankly Ace like I said early I simply don't think you comprehend the state of the nation, if you honestly believe that the only reason workers are on their way back to wage slavery is because of their "mindset" and that they have "untapped power" then the only thing I can think of is how utterly ignorant of just how far things have fallen from when you were young you must be.

    I think you should refamiliarize yourself with the state of the union before you continue to claim the only thing holding workers back is their "mindset".
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2013
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  13. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member Donor

    Location:
    Toronto
    Workers get jerked around because most of them don't have collective or concentrated power like most companies do, particularly in the United States, where the ability to unionize has been eroded by labour law and public policy. This is the case specifically in the U.S., and it's well known that unionization has bottomed out following the sixties and seventies. (Comparatively, the same thing didn't happen in Canada, where unionization remains steady at around 30%, compared to the ~12% in the U.S. This is mostly because Canada has a more union-friendly political/legal environment.)

    Where many companies have powerful entities such as management, shareholders, industry organizations, legal teams, and other stakeholders (including all levels of government), non-union employees are essentially individuals subject to these far more powerful forces.

    So while it's nice to say that a food service or retail worker has choices, they are ridiculously limited. It's also nice to say that workers can exert more power by developing skills and expertise, but the options are limited when you're earning minimum wage (or close to it) and trying to make ends meet.

    So I would say fixes to the problem of workers' powerlessness reside in increased options and ease for unionization (start with removing systemic obstructions) and increased access to vocational resources for training and development (meaning sourcing the funding for this through government programs, industry initiative, or a combination thereof). As it is now, workers have a tough time even considering unionization, even when they have the will to be a part of a union.

    This bill is an assault on workers, as it is yet another systemic limitation imposed on them. If American workers want to reclaim their dignity, it's going to take more than pulling up their bootstraps. It's going to require changes on all levels: labour, industry, and government.

    America isn't a worker-friendly economy. Not anymore, anyway.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2013
    • Like Like x 2
  14. mixedmedia

    mixedmedia ...

    Location:
    Florida
    So, Ace, essentially what you're saying is that protection and advocacy extended to US corporations by the US government really doesn't matter one way or the other because the workers can protect and advocate for themselves. That's the picture I'm getting.
     
  15. redux

    redux Very Tilted Donor

    Location:
    Foggy Bottom
    I would put the increased access to vocational resources above the ease of unionization and this is another example of how House Republicans are attempting to undermine 50+ of job training programs....from the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) to the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of the 90s, all of which had bi-partisan support.

    The SKILLS (Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills) Act passed by the House Republicans guts the WIA by consolidating (cutting) federal programs with a goal of reducing overall spending on job training/retraining rather than achieving the desired outcome of a better trained workforce.

    It eliminates specific program for disadvantaged youth, veterans, minorities/women and it gives far greater power to the states ( at the urging of Republican governors) at the expense of a former role for local governments, community-based job training organizations and local business communities.

    The goal, like most of the proposed Republican budget cuts, takes an ideological chain saw to existing federal programs rather than attempting to more thoughtfully target existing inefficiencies and redundancies.
     
  16. Aceventura

    Aceventura Slightly Tilted

    Location:
    North Carolina
    I don't have an issue with clarify terms that can be interpreted in different ways, and when I use a term that may need clarification I use quotes to let the readers here know that there is something of importance in how the term is being used. I am not a professional communicator nor a good writer but I get my points across one way or another to those who take the time to understand.

    For example "mindset" in the context of collective bargaining. Collective bargaining does not have to be full of drama, theatrics, threats, strikes, etc. - it can be as simple as a discussion like this:

    Employees at a small business with about 15 employees designate Joe to talk to the owner Bob;

    Joe - Bob I have been talking to everyone and we would like to see if we can get a group health plan.
    Bob- Joe, it is going to cost too much and I don't have time to run a plan.
    Joe - Well I have already looked into it a little. there are plans at low costs that will meet our needs, and if we do it through a Cafeteria plan it will lower your payroll tax costs.
    Bob - sounds intersting
    Joe - and if the plan lowers turnover by one person over the next three years you can save $X in hiring and training costs. If you pass those savings on to us in the form of a contribution - it will be no cost to you.
    Bob - You know I had been thinking about this and did not know if that is what you guys wanted. In fact I will pass on the savings and contribute $Y per employee if what you say is true. I will have my CPA look into it.
    Joe - And we were thinking of getting one of those Kuerag Coffee machines and a microwave in the break room
    Bob- My wife bought one for home and we love it - sure no problem.

    I bet the "mindset" of most "workers" is that they would either hesitate to have that conversation or think they could not do the type of homework that would allow them to negotiate a "win-win" deal.

    So this is simply one type of an example that illustrates what I mean by "mindset" being screwed up. And I bet your intial thought is that - Bob is going to fire Joe... or something like that. I would say 99% of the time that would not be true.
     
  17. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member Donor

    Location:
    Toronto
    In this context, you should consider using italics instead of "quotation marks."

    For example, it's the difference between "trying" to get your point across and trying to get your point across.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Aceventura

    Aceventura Slightly Tilted

    Location:
    North Carolina
    I hated (literally) classes requiring writing while in school - I am not sure I understand the difference you point out. But if it makes it easier for you I can do it.
     
  19. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member Donor

    Location:
    Toronto
    The difference is, basically:

    1) italics are used for emphasis

    2) quotation marks in many cases introduce a sense of irony, but they are also used for uncommon usage of words (i.e., a word used in a context not normally associated with the common meaning)

    That said, your use of quotation marks for "workers," for example, may come across as your undermining the idea of workers or of people's views of workers, etc. If you instead wanted to imply that workers is a loaded term, you could italicize it and mention briefly at its first italicized use that you're using the word with a specific thought or theme in mind.

    Anyway, on with the thread.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  20. Aceventura

    Aceventura Slightly Tilted

    Location:
    North Carolina
    While avoiding a detailed history of unionization in the US - perhaps it can be summed up by saying unions have failed to adequately server workers. If workers perceived real value in unions, membership would increase.
     
    • Like Like x 1